Business & Entrepreneurs

OXFORDSHIRE BUSINESSES THRIVE DURING LOCKDOWN TO DEVELOP VIRUS KILLING DEVICE

By Sarah Edwards at

TWO small Oxfordshire businesses have thrived during the Covid-19 pandemic by working together to develop a device that has been proven to kill viruses in small spaces.

Problem solving and innovation expert Karen Gadd founder and Managing Director of Oxford Creativity in Eynsham, worked with Airdri, an engineering technology company based in Eynsham to help them launch their product in August despite development work only beginning in May.

Engineers and scientists worked with Karen and her team at the height of the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown to get their product to market. They used a process called TRIZ to solve problems and move their project forward quickly.

TRIZ is a unique innovation toolkit developed in Russia and has the power and speed to solve problems unmatched by other techniques.

Working with major companies like Rolls-Royce and BAE systems, Oxford Creativity honed, modernised and developed the toolkit and trademarked Oxford TRIZ™ seven years ago.

“The Oxford TRIZ team have helped us solve problems in just days,” said Airdri Group Director of Operations Steve Whittall, “It was exactly what we needed in today’s crisis.”

Airdri engaged Oxford TRIZ experts to work with them after sending a number of their engineers on Oxford TRIZ Live: Fundamental Problem Solving, a new online course offered by Oxford Creativity that launched in April.

Designed to help anyone to learn the main TRIZ tools in just 10 hours over five days, it helped to equip the Airdri team with the valuable skills to apply TRIZ problem solving techniques to future projects.

Despite the country being in lockdown, Oxford Creativity smashed their targets and sold out places for their first 4 online learning courses which help global technical teams work together.

Delegates tuned in from all around the globe including Malaysia, France, Italy, Netherlands, US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, for interactive lock-down learning and tutorials on fundamental and fast problem solving to help them during the COVID-19 crisis.

Karen said: “For more than 20 years, we have been working to help businesses overcome their most difficult problems using Oxford TRIZ – based on a unique Russian toolkit. No matter how tough the challenge, we have never seen TRIZ fail and it finds solutions fast. Oxford TRIZ offers accessibility to life-saving innovation, which is critical today, so we had created  an eLearning programme which was due to be launchedin June. However, the pandemic forced us to come up with immediate solutions so we pivoted from eLearning to Live Learning to help locked down teams! We are amazed at the enthusiastic response and how brilliantly it worked for so many different time zones. We will never go back to just offering face to face workshops”

Their first new online five-day problem solving course takes just two hours each day with interactive tutorials and exercises to get people to work together, sharing knowledge and experience and developing better solutions to the toughest problems – even ones which look unsolvable. TRIZ for Everyone and protecting IP Live Learning begin in September.

Dr. Michaela Kreiner from the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences who has taken part in the course, said: “It is a great package. So much useful information cleverly packed into a modular, visual and enjoyable transmitting tool.”

“We wanted to make sure that scientists and engineers had access NOW to help them with their critical work,” Karen explained, “Our specialty has always been for fast learning and problems solved in days, not weeks. This is something the world needs right now, so we are glad to have reached so many people.”

Run by a team of working mothers simultaneously tackling their own Covid-19 childcare challenges, Oxford Creativity offers creative solutions to help companies to work together during lockdown.

More information can be found at www.triz.co.uk